A small but incensed group of about 50 protesters gathered outside a new church in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya yesterday to voice their displeasure at the storefront church’s cross, displayed on its facade.
The Malay-Muslim protesters, who claimed to be local residents in the area, converged outside the church at around 10am yesterday, calling for the cross to be taken down, as they claim it challenged the authority of Islam, and aimed to influence the local youth to embrace Christianity.
The church’s congregation, numbering about 15 people, were having their Sunday mass inside the building at th time of the protest.
The Star Online‘s Nicholas Cheng reports that the angry group was pacified somewhat by the arrival of village head Abdullah Abu Bakar, who brokered a dialogue between the protesters and the church congregation.
“After meeting with the priest, the church agreed to take down the cross by next Sunday. If they have the authority to run, we cannot stop it. But we ask out of concern, being a Malay area, that they take down the cross,” he said after the discussions.
Still, some protesters were not appeased. They said that the very existence of a church in Taman Medan, which some claimed to be a “95% Muslim* community, was an affront to the Islamic religion.
Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian of PKR claimed the protest was politically motivated, and that it was attended by UMNO members trying to stoke fear among local residents.
“The people who protested claimed themselves to be residents but all of them were Umno members,” The Malaysian Insider quotes him as saying at a ceramah in Taman Medan last night.
“Who was present? The secretary, the former Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno wanita chief who was also a candidate for the Taman Medan state seat and also other Umno division leaders.”
In Shah Alam, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has denounced the protest, calling it “disrespectful” to Christians.
“The cross is a sacred symbol for the Christian community.
“To force them to remove the symbol is certainly unacceptable and disrespectful to the Christian community,” he said earlier this morning.
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